Hey book lovers, I’m back again. You’ve made it through the first round and to give you a little refresher, this is what we discussed in Part 1 of how to Prepare your Book/Files/Manuscript:
- Traditional publishing
- Indie Publishing
- And a mixture of Indie and Self-Publishing
We also went through how to:
- Prepare your book/files/manuscript
- What to do after you’ve finished your manuscript like,
- Making a checklist,
- Writing a query letter,
- Researching, companies and literary agents,
- And the last, turning in your project.
Now you are at the point where you’ve turned in your manuscript to several agents. Please note we are talking about traditional publishing at this point. I will cover self-publishing, Indie, and a mixture later.
Turning in your book/manuscript/files to one or ten literary agents doesn’t cut it. Unless you have an inside connection, you need to turn your manuscript into at least a hundred literary agents or more if you hope to hear something back.
I’m not trying to discourage you. But this is the reality since so many people are writing and wanting to be published.
Hearing Back from A Literary Agent
If or when you hear from an agent, it will likely be a request to see your entire manuscript. Remember, they often do not read your book/files/manuscripts, only your query letter, unless it is the first three chapters.
But now they are interested, so they will request your entire book. Once the agent has read through it, they will either love it or leave it. If they love it, you may start to talk about signing on with them, or they will ask general questions to see if you are willing to change the title name, etc.
In short, they want to know if you are willing to work with them, at which point you can either decline or accept their offer.
What to Do When You Get a Call
Would you please not act like a moron when you get a call? At least not on the phone. Stay professional and giggle or pop a bottle of champagne AFTER you hang up. There is NOTHING wrong with being excited. For heaven’s sake, you have been through the wringer and spent hours upon hours of your time seeing this project through. No, go ahead and celebrate once your meeting or phone call is over with the agent.
What Comes Next? Do I accept the offer or not?
When you have an offer to sign with a literary agent, take a day and consider if this is the person that you want to work with. No one can make this decision for you.
However, it is worth noting that not everyone will even get one response, and by not everyone, I mean, according to Mark Malatesta, “your odds of getting a literary agent are 1 in 6,000.
That does NOT mean 1 out of every 6,000 authors who try to get an agent will make it, and the other 5,999 will fail. It means the best book agents can get as many as 1,500 queries per month, and they sometimes only offer to represent approximately 6 new clients per year. Some writer representatives take on more. But, for this example, let’s use that math. If a literary agent only offers to represent 6 new writers per year, that’s one every two months. Or the odds of getting a literary agent in that scenario are 1 in 3,000.
But let’s assume, in this example, the chances of getting a literary agent are less. Because we’re talking about one of the most powerful or famous literary agents here. In other words, 3 of the 6 authors that the most successful literary agents offer to represent each year are already published with traditional publishers. Those authors might even already have a bestseller or two—or they might have a very strong author platform.
That’s why your chances of getting a literary agent are 1 in 6,000.”
Those numbers do not favor the author, so consider the literary agent who has chosen you, but do not get too picky as that could be your only offer.
Take a day, decide, celebrate, or keep looking.
I’ve Accepted. Now What?
Now it’s time to let the literary agent find you a publisher. They will also look at your book, probably have their team edit and make changes to help move things along, or they will simply start pitching your book/files/manuscript to publishers. Remember literary agents don’t get paid unless you land a contract. This is why they are so picky and also eager to find you a publisher.
What if I am Self-publishing, Going Indie, Or Using a Company That has Formatting and Other Services?
In the case of self-publishing, Indie, or doing something in between, you bypass the waiting stage of having someone choose your book and go directly into picking out the company, and filling out/getting a quote.
Dielines, what are They?
You have your quote in hand and agree with the price. Or you keep searching for a company until you do. After you choose to move forward from the quote stage, you will either turn in your entire manuscript to a self-publisher or, in the case of Indie or in-between, you will request dielines.
Dielines give the exact measurements you need for the book size you have requested. Once you have them, you can format your files correctly before sending them in to get a digital proof.
I Don’t want to Mess with My Files.
If you don’t know what you are doing or simply do not want to waste time, you can request a formatting service that Pufferprint offers or other companies.
These services make sure your files have the proper CMYK color, the resolution is 300 dpi, which is recommended for digital printing, pretty much make it, so your files are print-ready. A formatting team can also place your ISBN where you wish if you have your own or request one from the company at this time.
E-books are often formatted at this time, too. Although you do not need to have files formatted to get an e-book, you can simply pay $199.99 through Pufferprint or another company.
Either way, your files need to be ready to turn into a print team, so you have the choice to do them yourself or ask for a service.
Approving the Files
You are going to go through different stages of approving files depending on which path you choose. There will be edits to review, cover drafts, etc., with a traditional publisher, but depending on your contract, you may or may not have control over these changes.
Self-Publishing, Indie, or in between, you will. No matter who you choose, the company will ask you to approve each draft, whether it is from the formatting team or the print team.
I Have Approved My Book/Files/Manuscript. Now What?
A traditional publisher will tell you the next step, but in most cases, they will produce a physical proof to see how it looks with the thickness of the page, text, alignment of the spine, color bleeds, etc.
For self-publishing, they do not always send out a physical proof unless requested. Indie or in-between, I would highly recommend getting one. Most proofs are $100.00 shipped to your house unless you use a Kickstarter campaign or coupon with the company. Trust me; it’s worth it!
Physical proofs can be used in a photo opt while you are waiting for your large order of books to print. You can also bring your single proof into book/other stores to see if they would like to buy or consign your books once your order comes in. So, don’t think of this as a waste of time or money. You want to make sure your books are precisely how you want them before spending a large amount of money.
Once you Approve the Physical Proof, You Make Your Final Decisions.
The proof has been approved, or you send edits back, which the print team applies. In either case, when your final approval is sent, you choose how many books you want, air or sea shipping in some cases, and give the company the address to where you would like your books delivered.
Now some companies do split shipping which you can request a quote or choose from the original. Once you tell the company, they produce an Invoice.
Please note that your order will not start printing in most cases until the invoice has been paid. That’s just good business.
The Invoice is Paid. Can I Celebrate?
Once you pay, your books are put in the queue for printing!!!!
The company will provide an order number/tracking number, so you can sit back, relax, and wait for your books to arrive. Or you can be proactive and go out and get some clients, whether that be a store, online platform, library, museum, etc.
Note: Traditional and self-publishing provide so many copies complimentary depending on your order size.
My Books Are in Hand
At this point, promote, promote, promote. Get your books into the hands of the consumer. Give them away as gifts, set up book signings, you name it. The more active you are, the better your books will sell, and people will notice your name as an author.
Congratulations, you have now fulfilled a dream to become an author or just finished your book project. You deserve a big hug for your efforts!!
I know this took time, money and perhaps was a tad stressful, but you did it and have gained priceless knowledge.
I wish you the best with your dreams and book project, and remember, “if you can dream it, you can achieve it!”